Saturday, February 6, 2010

Delusions of Grandeur

Last night as CPod and I went to bed, I briefly stepped into the little boys' bathroom to tidy up. The toilet, of course, needed flushing, but other than that it really wasn't too bad. CPod cleans the toilets in our house. Thank goodness. Usually, five minutes after he finishes scrubbing, some little person takes it upon himself to turn it back into the truckstop toilet we all know it deserves to be. We spend a lot of time and effort remediating their aiming skills. And it seems to be working.

So I said to CPod, "Hey, your terlet in there is still pretty clean!" And then I started laughing because that was funny, right? (Intentionally mispronounced word, in case you were wondering.) CPod just glanced up from his Backpacker magazine and smirked at me through stylish wire-rimmed glasses. (Somehow, the smirk stings more when he just looks so good doing it, right?)

"You really crack yourself up, don't you?" he said. No laughing. Not funny.

Yes, apparently, I do. I spend waaaaay too much time laughing at my own jokes, fantasizing about being on Glee as I vocalize in the car, and wondering why they don't have more short, tree-trunk legged, curvy, busty supermodels. I suffer from a different kind of delusion: when I look in the mirror, what I see is much thinner than reality, with hair worthy of a Suave commercial, a sharp wit funny enough for Night at the Improv, and book ideas the big publishing houses would fight over could they just see into my brilliant mind.

And then I realized that I am just like those people on American Idol. You know the ones. Even the most tone deaf AI viewers can recognize a talent blackhole when they see it. Don't we all just shake our heads and wonder how on earth no one has told them that they can't sing?

I am always amazed at their confidence -- one girl's utter conviction that no matter how much Simon Cowell knows about the music business, he must be wrong about her. "Those judges don't know nothin'!" she screams at the camera as she angrily makes her way out of the venue. No, of course not. Their extensive experience and proven track record of choosing and grooming multi-platinum artists pale in comparison to your one semester of high school show choir and a lifetime of shower singing. How could belting it out in the opera house-like acoustics of your bathroom not prepare you to be the next American Idol? Honestly, I'm amazed you don't have a record deal already.

Is it a worse friend/sister/mother/significant other who fosters this delusion, or pops the bubble? I'm still not sure. But really. A little bit of, "Honey, why don't you try something else?" goes a long way.

When I was eight years old, I filled pages of my journal with a looooong list of my possible future careers. This list was, of course, based on some serious soul searching and a realistic inventory of my strengths and weaknesses. Well, not weaknesses, because, of course, I wasn't aware I had any at the ripe old age of 8. American Idol wasn't around then, but, rest assured, had such a phenomenon existed, there would have been an entry on my list of "What I Have to Offer the World" going something like this: "48. American Idol pop star, because I have a GREAT voice and I don't really get nervous in front of people, and because I have such an amazing sense of fashion and could totally set the trend for modesty." This from the girl who regularly wore red tights with turquoise shorts. Turquoise corduroy shorts. (There is photographic evidence. Wince.)

Part of me has to admire the . . . chutzpah of those American Idol contestants. It takes guts to believe in yourself way more than reality should permit. After all, if YOU don't believe in you, no one will. But, seriously. At some point, we all have to take the gauze off the camera lens and see things as they really are. Except not me. Because I AM the next American Idol . . . Mother Teresa . . . Albert Einstein . . . Jane Austen . . . Margaret Thatcher . . .

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  1. I just wonder if the people in their lives hate them. Why else wouldn't they tell them they suck and will humiliate themselves on national television?

  2. Margaret and I think we're so funny that we don't even need anyone else to laugh at us. Which is good, since Russ's response if often like CPod's. And I am usually laughing (at my own incredible wit) too hard to even respond...

  3. I can't watch when they are auditioning because it is way too embarrassing for me! I KNOW that I am not the next idol, so I just wait for the final 24 before I start watching.

  4. I don't watch american idol (pulled the plug on the satellite more than two years ago and we still spend way too much time in front of a screen!), but I often wrangle with the dilemma of when to encourage my children and when to softly discourage them.

    If you find a magic formula for success, let me know!

  5. I want to see the photographic evidence. Sounds good.

  6. I am laughing so hard here, because I have the same problem. For instance, I am around 50 pounds heavier now than I was when I got married, but I still think of myself as thin, and am often surprised when I see a picture of myself. I really should get it by now. Really.

    And my 8 year old journal looks something like that, too. I was going to be an actor singer entertainer musician mother, or something along those lines. Which, I guess I've mostly accomplished. Even if the only people I'm entertaining are my children, and even that's debatable.

    Oh well, I suppose a little self-confidence goes a lot further than none at all, right? And I really like to think that I would know when to draw the line, unlike the AI people. Maybe?

  7. I totally crack myself up too. My husband told me recently that everything I'm saying as of late sounds like a facebook status update.

    I said "I know, right? I'm totally funny!? He rolled his eyes at me. Can you believe it?

    I can't watch the American Idol auditions-- I get embarrassed for all those weirdos.


    OH.MY.GLEE! I wish I were cool enough to be ON that show!

  8. I also think I'm hilarious. My husband thinks otherwise. (For the record, I laughed out loud with that "terlet" comment. Great minds, I tell ya.)

    One day I will write a life changing book. Seriously, I will win a Pulitzer Prize or something.

  9. But you are absolutely fantastic in practically every way. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

  10. I could have written this post.

    I think, once upon a time, I totally squashed someone's AI dreams. She was beautiful and her voice was beautiful, but I said I didn't know if she'd make it because I'd heard people with voices as good as hers not make it. I think she is too sweet.

    She probably hates me.

    I felt bad because she had a good voice, but really? Most of the people that do make it are already doing this type of thing every day--she barely performed in church.

    I still feel guilty--obviously.

    But I'm still convinced I can change the world. . .

  11. Okay. I so do the skinny thing. When I look in the mirror I think I don't look too bad. Then I see a picture of myself and want to cry. . .

  12. Aww man, I'm always thinking I'm skinnier than I am! Always. I have a great friend who used to call me up and say, "Jenni, wanna go out? I'm feeling skinnier than I am, troubles a brewin tonight!" To which I would always respond laughingly, "Heck yeah! You're on!"

    LOL! Great post!


  13. The easiest thing of all is to deceive one's self; for what a man wishes he generally believes to be true.


  14. LOL Great post! I think that all the while watching AI auditions!..Where are these people's friends??? They should be put in front of a firing squad for LYING about their AI-wannabe's TALENTS!!
    My 14 yo once asked, "Do you think I could be the next American Idol, Mom?"

    AFTER I Stopped laughing, I said, "Absolutely NOT! I love you too much to let you do that!"
    She said, "But you're my Mom--youre supposed to be my cheerleader!"
    "Yeah. You're right." I said. "I'm your Mom and I will never lie to you. So if you choose to audition for AI, please use a Stage Name, k?"

  15. I am a HS teacher as well as a mom so there is no shortage of folks who will laugh at me. ;-)

  16. Hilarious!
    I had to come over here after I read your cute little guest post at MMB.
    Love your blog!

  17. I loved this post! I hope "writer" was somewhere on your list of careers because your talent leaps off the computer screen!

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. I'm so glad I had a link to follow.

  18. I feel zero sympathy for the ones who are just fame, uh . . . junkies. I feel bad for the ones that you can genuinely understand why they think they have a shot and yet in the same moment, hear why they don't have ENOUGH of what they need to make it. That must stink to be above average and yet not extraordinary. It's kind of a mind bender for me.


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